Our Community Activist-Led Grantmaking
Chinook funds grassroots organizations that work to create a just, equitable and free society by transforming oppressive and discriminatory cultural, social, political, and economic systems and institutions. In other words, Chinook funds organizations working to challenge the root causes of oppression, rather than treating the symptoms. Chinook believes the root causes of our most serious social problems include systemic racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism and ageism. We identify effective social change as efforts that strive to include these key elements:
- Constituent-Led: The work is led by the people most impacted by injustice. Unlike a traditional charity model, we believe that those most affected by the issue have the vision and solutions for their own liberation - and that the development of their leadership, skills, and power should be prioritized.
- Community-Wide: The work reflects all members of the constituency, especially those who experience multiple forms of oppression. This ensures that change for the community leaves no one behind, especially for those who have less privilege within the community.
- Lasting Effect: The work makes change not just for one individual today, but for the community as a whole, and for future generations. Generally this means organizing collective action to change systems and institutions.
All successful applicants must:
- Be based in communities facing injustice or oppression, including but not limited to: communities of color, low-income communities, LGBTQ communities, disabilities communities, immigrant communities.
- Have democratic leadership, decision-making and organizing that is led by and accountable to people most directly impacted by the issue or injustice
- Demonstrate that the work can lead to permanent progressive change for their community
- Be engaged in efforts to dismantle privilege and oppression within their organization and community
- Be based in Colorado (with possible exceptions made for regional indigenous groups)
- Have an annual budget of $350,000 or less
Gandhi once said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Chinook seeks to create a just world not only by funding social change organizations, but also by how we fund them. We convene a group of community activists who have direct experience working for social justice on the ground to lead decision-making around all of our funding. We are constantly working to ensure that our grantmaking committee is representative of the diverse communities, issues, and regions we fund, and we partner with donors/allies who follow the lead of activists. This means that Chinook is led by, and accountable to, the communities we serve - just as we require our grantees to be. And it means our committee is ideally suited to ensure that Chinook targets its resources to the organizations with the most potential and the best track record for making effective social change in Colorado.
Grantmaking Committee members review all proposals, conduct site visits, and make funding decisions using a unique consensus-based process. In all its deliberations, the committee is bent towards determining which organizations will transform society into a just and free environment for all people.
Start-Up Grants are available to groups that are less than 4 years old. Groups must demonstrate a vision and plan for meeting Chinook Fund criteria, but do not need a proven track record of success. Groups can apply multiple times in this category, as long as they are less than 4 years old. The maximum grant award is $4,000.
Established Grants are available to any group, but the competition for grants is tougher, as it includes organizations that have been working successfully on social justice issues for a number of years. The maximum grant award is $10,000.
Multi-Year Grants will be considered for organizations who apply in the Established cateogry, have been funded at least twice during the last 5 years, and who receive the highest level of funding in the current cycle. Please see Funding Guidelines for more details.
Technical Assistance & Critical Response Grants are currently unavailable. We will be sure to inform you when these grants are reinstated! Please contact staff for more information.
Chinook typically awards grants twice a year. Deadlines for proposals are usually in February and August. After numerous screenings and site visits by our Grantmaking Committee members, grants are dispersed in June and December. Our next grant deadline is Thursday, February 21st, 2013. Grants must be postmarked or delivered to the office by 5pm on the deadline date. Please make sure all proposals are mailed or dropped off to Chinook Fund's CURRENT ADDRESS: 3280 Downing Street, Suite B Denver, CO 80205.
Orientation for New Grantseekers
Are you a new grantseeker or a past grantee that needs a refresher on the grant application process? If your organization or grantwriter is new to Chinook Fund, we strongly recommend attending our Orientation for New Grantseekers workshop where we will give an introduction to Chinook Fund, funding criteria and an overview of the grant application process. While we understand small non-profits are usually very busy, we guarantee that this will save you time, effort and money in the long run. This workshop will help you to determine if you are eligible to apply for a Chinook Fund grant and teach you some basics in writing a successful Chinook Fund application. The workshop is free. Bring a brown bag lunch and join us at our office for a hands-on training. Stay tuned for our next workshop!
Download the newly revised Funding Guidelines & Grant Application Forms. Please be sure to read the guidelines thoroughly before working on your proposal. Follow the instructions and use the checklist as a guide to prepare your proposal package. And call us with any questions you may have! Please note that we have made changes to our guidelines and application forms as of January 1st, 2013 - so please do not submit proposals in the old format!
To assist prospective applicants in better understanding our revised Funding Guidelines and Funding Processes, and to make a Grant Application Workshop readily accessible to applicants outside of the Denver Metro Area, we have devised a 3-part Online Grant Application Workshop Series.
Part One explores: the Chinook Fund’s history, values and philosophy; how grantmaking decisions are made; and background regarding the January 1st, 2013 guideline revisions.
Part Two examines: the Chinook Fund’s three key funding criteria; additional guidelines; funding categories, multi-year grants, and funding deadlines.
Part Three, details: the grant application forms, including the budget form, diversity chart, and final checklist.
Grants must be postmarked or delivered to the office by 5pm on the deadline date. Please make sure all proposals are mailed or dropped off to Chinook Fund's CURRENT ADDRESS: 3280 Downing Street, Suite B Denver, CO 80205.